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Jason Garrett discusses Ezekiel Elliott suspension

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The Cowboys are bracing for Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension, but that won't stop Dallas from moving full-speed ahead toward September.

Following Saturday's preseason loss to the Rams, coach Jason Garrett emphasized that the team is prepared to play with or without their star running back.

"Obviously, Zeke Elliott's a good football player. But we feel like we've built our team the right way and we feel like we have some veteran experience, guys that have been productive in this league at the running back position in Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden," Garrett said. "[We] feel good about Rod Smith, and we're going to focus on the guys that we have available to us. Zeke will be with us practicing as we go forward and he's going to get himself ready to play when the time comes."

Garrett revealed that he spoke to his players about the "importance of focusing on what we can control," noting the franchise "suspected that something like this might happen."

"We prepared our team accordingly by building it the right way and we're going to focus on what we control with our football team," Garrett said. "That's players and coaches. We're going to coach as well as we can. We're going to play as well as we can with the guys that we have available to us."

As for Elliott, Garrett said the second-year back has "done an excellent job through this whole process focusing on what he needs to do and controlling what he can control," adding that he's "getting himself ready to play as well as he can."

Speaking prior to Saturday's tilt with the Rams, COO Stephen Jones made it clear that Elliott will continue to see carries in August.

"Obviously we know this was something that could happen," Jones said of Elliott's suspension, per 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "We knew that the investigation was ongoing, and whenever you prepare for a football team you prepare for injury. You prepare for things that are unexpected. And certainly we have done that and are comfortable with who we are on this football team."

Said Jones: "At the end of the day we certainly support Zeke. At the same time we understand the very, very, very serious nature of domestic violence, certainly that people should be held accountable if that takes place."

Elliott was notified Friday by the NFL that he will be suspended without pay for the team's first six regular-season games of 2017 for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy.

The ruling comes after the NFL's year-long investigation into domestic violence accusations made against the 22-year-old running back by Tiffany Thompson, who identified herself as his former girlfriend to authorities.

Elliott has denied the allegations, with his camp saying in a statement that they are "extremely disappointed" with the NFL's decision and will appeal the ruling.

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